Planning Update on Ocean Village Hotel

Plans to build a hotel at Ocean Village were first proposed as far back as 2006 when an initial application was first submitted to the council for consideration. (You can read more about the history of this development on our ‘Big Issues’ page.) Back in January 2012 we reported that Harbour Hotels were looking to make it a reality and had submitted revised plans which would, for the first time, also include a residential development to make the entire scheme more viable. In response to this, the planning department at Southampton City Council, after first seeking comments from the local community, went back to Savills (who are handling the matter for both Harbour Hotels and Marina Developments Ltd (MDL)) with a number of issues requiring further consideration.

Savills have now responded at length to the matters raised and have submitted additional planning documents to support their planning application.

Hotel – Additional Planning Documents – March 2012:

As is outlined in the response, the changes relate primarily to the general layout of the entire site and the residential element of the scheme. However the hotel has also had the windows on the 3rd, 4th and 5th floors increased in width so as to maximise the view.

Residential split and parking

The number of residential properties in the residential block remains the same at 82 but this will now be split between 75 two bed flats and 7 three bed flats. Car parking for the residential block remains at 66 undercroft spaces and 14 on-street spaces with 88 cycle parking spaces. As before, 12 two bedroom apartments will also be incorporated into the hotel building.

Affordable housing

The council had initially requested that 35% of the flats be made available for affordable housing. However it appears that enforcing this requirement would make the development unviable and the developer is putting together a viability assessment to demonstrate this. In addition there is a requirement to provide a certain amount of what is called family housing and it is for this reason that 7 of the 82 properties will now be three bedroom (9%). Were this not a city centre development this number would have had to be higher still.

Public spaces

The council have also expressed concern that the amount of public space for events and exhibitions has been reduced from the 2,950 sqm in the original plans (prior to the addition of the residential units) to just under 2,000 sqm. There is particular concern that the 1,028 sqm ‘Welcome Plaza’ fronting the docks, would not adequately function as an events and exhibition space for large events such as an international yachting event or the Sports Boat and RIB Show. The developer responds that, while the current scheme may provide a smaller area than before, the tiered nature of the site and the resultant increased edge along the promontory significantly increases the length of the viewing edge where people will not be standing directly behind someone else at the same level. Further, they argue, that additional spaces of different sizes and character have been provided throughout the Ocean Village development in order to cater for events of different sizes and style.

Possible bus connection?

On point of interest is that the both MDL and Harbour Hotels are also in detailed discussions with a bus operator to enter Ocean Village so as to further improve integration between the city and its waterfront. At present there is a bus shelter next to the new Ocean Village Innovation Centre (OVIC) building, but this currently serves no purpose.

No doubt of interest to those living close to the new development, the council have suggested a number of noise related conditions during construction which the developer has stated that they are happy to abide by. This includes a condition which states that:

All works related to the construction of the development hereby granted including works of demolition or preparation prior to building operations shall only take place between the hours of 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm Saturdays and at no time on Sundays or Bank Holidays. Any works outside the permitted hours shall be confined to the internal preparation of the building without audible noise from outside the building, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority. During construction every reasonable precaution shall be taken to prevent noise and disturbance to nearby properties.

In response to residents concerns about the potential impact on parking the developer responds with the following:

The scheme will park in the Ocean Car Park which already accounts for the lost spaces currently on site and has spaces to accommodate the approved 224 bedroom hotel, compared to this 76 bedroom hotel. These spaces are currently not permitted to be used until the development is implemented/complete. Residential parking is provided on-site at one space per unit in line with planning policy. Drop-off parking is noted on the plans. This scheme should therefore not lead to any net impact or any increase in any overflow parking currently experienced by local residents. The Ocean Car Park will be able to soak up such parking if necessary.

Residents have also raised concern about the loss of the existing duck ponds. In response to this the developer states:

The water features need significant maintenance. By removing these, the landscaped area can be improved and the sloping grassed areas allow for office workers to sit and enjoy the sun during lunch breaks for example. The removal of the water features also allows for more flexible areas where events can be staged as this will become the main arrival route from the car park to water based events. Some grassed areas have been levelled for this reason. The canopies are provided to protect against rain and also to provide shade in sunny periods.

As before, comments on the proposal are being sought by Southampton City Council and must reach them by 3rd April 2012 if they are to be considered. The full planning application can be viewed on the council website. The application number is: 11/02000/FUL.

The full wording of the planning proposal is:

Site clearance and erection of a 76 bedroom hotel (Class C1) with associated spa, restaurants, bars/clubs and function rooms with 12 residential units (Class C3) in a building ranging in height from 5 storeys to 7 storeys and erection of a building ranging in height from 6 storeys to 10 storeys to provide 82 flats and 1,114 square metres of commercial floorspace (Use Classes A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, or B1) with associated parking, landscaping and other works.

You can write to the council at: Development Management, Southampton City Council, Ground Floor, Civic Centre, Southampton, SO14 7LS or call them on 023 8083 3006.

You can also read our full coverage of the Ocean Village Hotel on our dedicated web page .